Monday will kick off the second year for Girls Can!, a program aimed at bringing a positive influence to young girls in Richmond County.
Courtney Wall, Public Health Education specialist and coordinator of the program, said it was created as a teenage pregnancy prevention program. Wall organized the Girls Can! program in July 2010 in order to help girls with self-esteem, setting goals, assertive training, and other things they may experience on a day to day basis.
“We work with girls from ages 10 to 14 in Richmond County,” Wall said.
This year, Wall said she hoped to bring new faces to the meetings.
“I’m planning on incorporating different speakers,” she said. “People that come from different fields … Just to let (the girls) know there’s more to Richmond County than the average worker.” Wall said she plans on bringing in different types of guests, such as doctors and nurses.
“Last year we had women from the bank who talked about how to set up your bank accounts,” said Wall, “what’s good on your credit score, what’s not — things you need to know in order to survive in society.”
During the first meetings of last year, approximately 50 girls were needed to maintain the program. Now, Wall said more than 200 girls are participating.
“We’re trying to reach out to as many as possible to educate them about different STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), pregnancy prevention — things they need to know about at their age.”
Kiarra Cole, a 15-year-old from Rockingham, said she plans to be a part of Girls Can! again this year.
“Every day we learned something different,” Cole said. “What I learned last year was that it’s really hard to take care of a child by yourself. I learned about all the diseases you can get … I learned how to take care of myself and make new friends.”
Cole said she would also like to see different guest speakers at the meetings this year.
“If they brought in a nurse that takes care of little babies, like when they first come out, I want to see that because that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” Cole said.
The official Girls Can! kick-off will be held Monday, Aug. 27. Regular meetings will be held over a period of 8 to 10 weeks every Tuesday and Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Richmond County Health Department.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.